By Lt. Col. Matt Hackathorn, U.S. Army Cadet CommandMarch 28, 2012
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (March 28, 2012) -- Today represents the latest historic event in the long and prestigious partnership between the U.S. Army and Harvard University. The day marked a formal recognition of Army ROTC's return to Harvard's campus.
It had been 36 years since the department left amid national turmoil and controversy.
But Wednesday was much more joyous and positive, with a host of dignitaries commemorating the event. Among them were Harvard President Drew Faust, Harvard Dean Evelynn Hammonds, U.S. Army Cadet Command Second Brigade Commander Col. Twala Mathis and Lt. Col. Tim Hall, professor of military science for the nearby Paul Revere Battalion at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The welcome ceremony and ribbon-cutting signified an important step forward in the Army's partnership with Harvard University. Army ROTC had not had an official on-campus presence since 1976.
Mathis thanked Faust and Hammonds for their support and commitment in making the event happen.
"Harvard University, the oldest university in the U.S., is undoubtedly one of the finest institutions of higher learning anywhere in the world," Mathis said. "The U.S. Army and Harvard have a rich and distinguished connection that has continually grown and developed through modern times, and our partnership will help make the military stronger and our society better as a whole."
Faust also praised the partnership as invaluable to not only Harvard students, but also to the nation.
"Harvard University has produced more Medal of Honor recipients for the U.S. military than any other institution of higher learning," she said.
"Military service is certainly one of the highest forms of public service, and Harvard scholars now have better access to becoming heroic Soldiers in times of war and peace."
Hall elaborated on some of the changes that will occur as a result of the new partnership. Starting immediately, the battalion will conduct physical training once a week on Harvard's campus.
"Additionally, starting in the fall of 2012, we will offer our freshmen courses on Harvard's campus, in addition to my offerings at MIT, on a pilot basis, to determine if there is sufficient student interest to justify further offerings of courses at Harvard," he said.
One of the tasks Hall performed after the ceremony was remounting a historic saber presented to the first commander of the Harvard Regiment. Capt. Constant Cordier so impressed the members of the Harvard Regiment that they presented him with an Army officer's saber May 30, 1916.
Army and Harvard officials agree the Army will benefit from an increase in second lieutenant accessions from Harvard University.